We’re just a few days away from the big event that children look forward to all year. That’s right, the one time of year when Uncle George belches “Jingle Bells” at the Christmas dinner table. OK, maybe it’s Aunt Helen who does it at your house.
This week, more Christmas holiday questions. One or two will be multiple choice and the rest will be regular old questions. So, let’s start rockin’ around the Christmas tree...”
1. This Christmas record went to # 1 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart in 1958. Was it: a. White Christmas b. The Chipmunk Song c. The Christmas Song
2. This Christmas hit comes back every year since it was first released in 1957. It climbed to # 6 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart by a singer who also made the Top Ten a few months earlier with “My Special Angel”. His Christmas tune was featured in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, “Jingle All The Way”. Can you name this annual holiday hit? There’ll be extra nog in your egg nog if you know the name of the singer too.
3. In 1955, Bing Crosby’s version of “White Christmas” that he recorded for the movie “Holiday Inn”, zoomed up the charts, finally landing at # 7 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart. There was another version of “White Christmas” that went a little higher. In fact, it was # 1 on Billboards’ Christmas chart in 1963. The singer charted nearly 50 hits on the Hot 100, including his only other # 1, “Butterfly” in 1957. He had his own weekly TV variety show for nearly 10 years. His unofficial theme song was “Moon River”, although surprisingly, his vocal version was never released as a single. Can you name this singer?
4. This Christmas song made it all the way to # 1 on Billboards’ Christmas chart in 1967. It did better than any of this group’s previous hits. The song was inspired by one of the characters from the “Peanuts” comic strip. A fanciful little dog who liked to imagine he could do all sorts of things. Do you know the name of this # 1 Christmas hit? Is it: a. Snoopy versus the Red Baron b. Snoopy’s Christmas Caper c. Snoopy’s Christmas
5. There have been several hit songs recorded about Santa Claus. “Santa Claus And His Old Lady” by Cheech and Chong got to # 3 on Billboard magazine’s Christmas chart in 1971. James Brown took “Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto” to # 4 in 1968 on the same holiday chart. The hardest working man in show biz (James Brown again) had another Santa hit in 1970 with “Santa Claus Is Definitely Here To Stay”. That one made it to # 7 on the Christmas chart. The ‘Santa’ song we’re looking for first charted by The Four Seasons in 1962, but only climbed as high as # 23. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band took it to # 1 on the Christmas chart in 1985, but Bruce and the boys weren’t the first ones to do it. 15 years earlier, a Motown group made up of 5 brothers took this song to # 1 on the Christmas chart for the first time. What’s the name of this ‘Santa’ song?
1. b. “The Chipmunk Song” is the correct answer. Ross Bagdasarian, who went by the stage name of David Seville, had created a sped-up voice on his previous 1958 # 1 hit, “Witch Doctor” and decided to create three chipmunk characters to sing a Christmas song. Simon, Alvin and Theodore were all named for Liberty Records executives, which was the label that Seville recorded for. Simon was for Liberty Records founder Si Waronker, Alvin was named for Liberty Records President Al Bennett and Theodore for Liberty’s chief engineer Ted Keep. “The Chipmunk Song” by The Chipmunks with David Seville was # 1 on the pop charts for 4 weeks and sold 4 ½ million copies in just seven weeks. Ross Bagdasarian died in 1972 and the Chipmunk tradition has been kept alive by his son, Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and wife Janice Karman who co-produced several new chipmunk CDs, an animated TV series and the films “Alvin and The Chipmunks” (2007), “Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” (2009) plus “Alvin and The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” (2011). There’s also a new Alvin, Simon and Theodore movie scheduled for release in December of 2016, “Alvin and The Chipmunks: Road Trip”.
2. The song was “Jingle Bell Rock”. The singer – Bobby Helms. Helms was born in Bloomington, Indiana in 1933. He was a country singer who’s first charted pop hit was “Fraulein” in 1957. It made it to # 36. “My Special Angel” came a few months later and climbed to # 7. Both “Fraulein” and “My Special Angel” went to # 1 on the Country charts. Then just two days before Christmas of ’57 came “Jingle Bell Rock”. Helms continued to tour and record for the next four decades until his death from emphysema and asthma in 1997 at the age of 63. His musical accomplishments were honoured with his induction in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Bobby Helms died
3. Andy Williams is the singer’s name we were looking for. During his career, Andy recorded 44 albums, 17 of which were certified Gold and 3 went Platinum. His TV show, “The Andy Williams Show”, aired from 1962 until 1971. Andy also hosted the Grammy Awards several times. He formed Barnaby Records at the end of the 1960’s, a label that had hits with Ray Stevens (“Everything Is Beautiful” in 1970 and “The Streak” in ’74). Andy Williams passed away in 2012.
4. The answer is c. “Snoopy’s Christmas” recorded by The Royal Guardsmen, a group from Ocala, Florida who’s first hit was “Snoopy vs The Red Baron”. “Snoopy’s Christmas” did make # 1 in Australia and New Zealand in 1967. It re-charted in 1987, ’88, ’89 and 2003. On the flip side of all that chart action, the song was voted as ‘the worst Christmas song of all time’ by the readers of the New Zealand Herald newspaper in 2007.
5. It was “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town”, a # 1 in 1970 by The Jackson 5, featuring a 12 year old Michael Jackson. Altough it only went to # 1 on Billboards’ Christmas chart, it was their 5th # 1 hit and they all happened in 1970. The first was ”I Want You back”, followed by “ABC’. Then came “The Love You Save”. “I’ll Be There” was next after which came “Sant a Claus Is Comin’ To Town”. In 1975, they dropped the name The Jackson 5 and became The Jacksons. Michael went on to a superstar solo career and the rest is music history.